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Alumni profiles

Medical physics alumnus heads to Stanford

Karl Bush is fast tracking his radiation oncology physics residency with the BC Cancer Agency's Vancouver Island Centre so he can begin the next chapter of his career, one which has a steeply rising trajectory.

The gifted young scientist has accepted a faculty position with Stanford University's School of Medicine, starting January 2012. As a clinical assistant professor with the Department of Radiation Oncology, he'll primarily be conducting research in medical physics, an area in which he is already earning an international reputation.

Bush obtained all of his degrees at UVic, a bachelor of physics in 2003, his masters and PhD in medical physics in 2006 and 2009 respectively. It was in a third-year medical physics class that Bush began to appreciate the hands-on application of physics and to realize the potential of how to use his degree.

Bush did graduate-level and post-doc research on methods to more accurately determine radiation doses that cancer patients receive during radiotherapy. His work has helped to improve the calculation speed for determining this critical piece of information, resulting in methodologies that now take a tenth of the time. It's credited with providing anyone in the medical physics profession a way of running calculations for radiation doses on desktop computers, resulting in very precise treatment plans, better-focused radiotherapy, and improved patient safety and treatment outcomes.

The potential impact of Karl's work has been repeatedly noted by prominent members of the medical physics community whose research is similar, says Dr. Andrew Jirasek, one of Bush's PhD supervisors. "His work is significant not only for its novelty, but because it can be incorporated by other research groups, having a positive impact in a wide range of applications. This is a rare accomplishment."

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